Friday, October 21, 2011

15 - Diamond Dash

 We are moving on to paper piecing and I am proud to say, "I DID IT!  I am a paper piecer!  I paper pieced!  Is this a break though?!?"  I had been tempted in the last few months to try it out, but decided to save my first try for this sampler so I could say for real, "Hey, that wasn't so bad!" or "Wow, tricky!  Watch out for..." I am pleased to report that it wasn't bad at all.

If you are looking at the block and thinking, "Um...where's the paper piecing?  I can totally make that without paper piecing," you are correct.  You can make this block without paper piecing, but everyone suggests making some paper pieced squares in a square before starting more complex paper piecing patterns.  I thought this week we could practice paper piecing by making four squares in a square and then use them to make our block.

Marcia from the Quilter's Cache website has very detailed instructions about how to paper piece a square within a square.  Follow her instructions.  However, do not print the template at the top of the instructions.  Print this one - it is sized to finish at 4 inches and has a 1 inch test square printed in it.  Print one of the templates.  Measure the 1 inch test square to make sure it is actually 1 inch.  If it is not, when you print again click "Properties" and make sure that it is not "Scaled to Fit."  You want it to print at 100%.  Hopefully, it will all work.  Print five templates total.  

 Why five?  Because you can cut one apart and use it as a guide when you are cutting out your fabric.  One thing that everyone complains about is how paper piecing uses up a bunch of fabric.  I think if you print out an extra template and use it as a basic pattern, cutting a rough 1/2 inch away from the edge on each side, that much of the fabric waste can be done away with.  Sweet!

The trickiest thing for me was remembering to put my middle plaid fabric face up on the backside of the paper.  After I got the first two pieces sewn on it was smooth sailing.

 The rough 1/2 inch cut around the "pattern pieces" gave me more than enough wiggle room.  One thing Marcia doesn't mention at the end is that you will need to trim around the edges of your pattern.  Simply flip the square over so the paper is facing up, and using your ruler and rotary cutter, trim to the edge of the pattern.  Perfect!
 I had also heard horror stories about how hard it was to tear off the paper backing - but it wasn't.  I lowered my stitch length to about 1.7 as directed and when I was done sewing and trimming, I folded the paper up and down a few times along the perforations and carefully tore it off.  Not a big deal.

Although there is a lot of mess.  Sorry trees.  Maybe I'll start saving all of my girls' pictures that they color on printer paper - there are tons - and print my templates on the back of them.

 After I took the paper off, I lifted up the seam allowances and trimmed them with scissors to something closer to 1/4 inch - they were pretty bulky.

But enough of my rambling thoughts on paper piecing, let's make this block...

Step 1:  Following Marcia's instructions and using this template make 4 square in a square units.  Use a print in the center and your background fabric for the edges.

For the rest of the block:

2 - 5 inch squares out of background fabric
2 - 5 inch squares out of printed fabric
1 - 4.5 inch square out of printed fabric

 Cut the 5 inch squares in half along the diagonal.


Place a background and print triangle right sides together and sew 1/4 inch seam along the diagonal cut.  Press open with seam towards the darker fabric.   Trim to 4.5 inches square.  Repeat for all 4 half square triangles.

 Lay out your pieces as shown.  Sew the pieces together in columns.  Press towards the half square triangles and solid center block.

Then sew the columns together.  Pin where the seams intersect to help ensure matching points.  You did it!

I think I looked at almost every paper pieced pattern in the Quilter's Cache trying to find a 4 inch square in square template and let me tell you, there are so many great paper pieced blocks.  I can't wait to get piecing!!! We are going to have a great time!  Why didn't I do this earlier?  Tell me, am I the only one out there who was too scared to try it?  I know it is going to get trickier, but boy, will it be fun!


  1. Nope your not the only one I haven't tried paper piecing! Might try this though it looks do-able! Thanks for the tut!

  2. I like this block!! I just recently started paper piecing and I love love love it! Can't wait to get going on this block!

  3. You're definitely not the first one. I've avoided paper piecing- I'm scared to try - but I'm glad you chose an "easy" looking one, so I guess I will venture out this week and do my very first paper pieced block. Wish me luck!

  4. congratulations on your first paper pieced block and your very good tutorial. I have done a little bit of PP this year and find i like to trim my seams as i go. I fold the p.p.template back on itself and place a ruler with the quarter inch mark on the seam and trim back. I find if i wait till the block is finished there can be too much fabric caught up in subsequent seams, I set up my sewing station with a cutting mat on my left and an iron on my right

  5. I've done paper piecing with hexagons and tumbling blocks, and enjoy the process. But I think I'll skip this one, Leila. I haven't done my CQ block from last week yet (but I will!), and I'm trying to finish off my entries for our local Homecrafts shows, so I'm short on time. For me, there isn't much point in making the Diamond Dash using paper pieces. I'd rather make it the other way, minus the paper!

  6. Done :)
    I tried paper piecing just once before and enjoyed it. Of course if you think something is quite easy it's often bound to go wrong, so a bit of unpicking went into making the first square, but then everything was OK.

  7. Love these colors. I've always thought I'd try paper piecing . . . "just not now". ha ha. Is that what you kept telling yourself? What kind of paper do you use?

  8. so useful! I'm going to have a go!